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Celebrating The Taco

Americans reportedly consume over 4.5 billion tacos each year. Once merely a staple of the diet of our neighbors to the south, and later a cornerstone of the cuisine of the American Southwest, tacos have become a national obsession, celebrated each year with National Taco Day on October 4 in the United States. Thankfully, there is no shortage of options for great tacos in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. Below are some favorites sorted by neighborhood and recomended by our expert staff. With dozens of options from which to choose, by no means is this list comprehensive, but it is a good start!

East Village

Downtown Bakery

Downtown Bakery, located at 69 1st Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, started out as an Italian bakery, of which there were many along First Avenue in the mid-20th century. In the early 1990s, it was taken over by a family of Mexican immigrants from Puebla, who soon began making tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and tortas. Owned by Olivia Marin and her brother Manuel Marmolejo, Downtown Bakery is well known locally for its fresh ingredients and tasty meals. It is mostly takeout, although they have a few tables.

Planet Taco

Planet Taco at 141 2nd Avenue offers typical Mexican fare such as tacos, burritos, quessadillas, and more. While they offer expected fillings such as shrimp, chicken, etc., they also offer tacos with other flavors, including local and international twists. For example, they offer a “Philadelphia” taco filled with cheesesteak with portabello mushrooms, poblano peppers, and onions, a “Staten Island” filled with sweet Italian sausage, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and Oaxaca cheese, and a “Japan” stuffed with shrimp tempura, miso ginger slaw, pickled daikon, sauteed bamboo shoots, fried cellophane noodles, and sesame seeds, among other choices.

The “Italy” taco is shrimp oreganata, cannelini beans, sauteed zucchini, shrimp oreganato, black olives, cotija cheese, and oreganata sauce
Image via ny.eater.com

NoHo

Gonzalez y Gonzalez

Dancing at Gonzalez y Gonzalez. Image via Gonzalez y Gonzalez.

Gonzalez y Gonzalez has been serving up fresh Mexican fare since 1989 at 192 Mercer Street between Hosuton and Bleecker Streets. They have live Salsa music and dancing Thursdays and weekends and offer free dancing lessons.

Los Tacos No.1

Los Tacos No.1 is a local chain that opened its newest and fifth location in 2021 at 340 Lafayette Street just north of Bleecker Street. According to their website, “Los Tacos No.1 was created after three close friends from Tijuana, Mexico, and Brawley, California, decided to bring the authentic Mexican taco to the east coast. The authentic taste comes from family recipes and from fresh, simple and tasteful ingredients straight from home. In every taco from LOS TACOS No. 1 there is a bit of true Mexican culture and flavor.”

Greenwich Village

Tortaria

Image via tortaria-nyc.com

For the past decade, Tortaria has been serving up great Mexican food and drinks at 94 University Place on the corner of 12th Street. According to their website, they offer the widest selection of tortas in all of New York City and prepare them from scratch each morning with authentic Mexican spices and herbs. They also offer made-to-order guacamole, hand-pressed and grilled corn masa and flour tortillas, and fresh fruit-squeezed margaritas and mezcal cocktails.

Cowgirl

Tex-Mex restaurant Cowgirl has been feeding Villagers tacos since 1989. According to their website, “Cowgirl has helped shape the NYC community of the West Village by welcoming people of all walks of life with Texas-friendly service, food and killer margaritas. The owners and staff are proud to be a part of uniting true wild-west spirit with the independent, creative energy of NYC.”

Image via cowgirlnyc.com

This list is by no means comprehensive. Click here to read another non-comprehensive list of Taco Tuesday favorites.

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